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Preprints History

From the beginning, the papers produced by ICOM-CC — and its predecessors, the Commission for the Care of Paintings and the Sub-Committee for Museum Laboratories – have made an important contribution to the conservation field. Working Groups were established to reflect the various professional interests of ICOM-CC members, with individuals being assigned specific topics or research themes to investigate. Interim meetings were working sessions to share progress related to the group’s stated program.

Reports on the work carried out during this period were distributed at the Triennial Meeting in the form of Preprints to facilitate discussion among participants, a practice that continues to this day. Initially, Coordinators held the sole responsibility for accepting papers in accordance with their programs; however, as member¬ship in the various Working Groups increased, so did the number of contributions.

The 1987 Sydney Preprints reached a record three volumes, with 195 papers. It was clear that a more rigorous system of review and selection was required. Since then, various approaches have been pursued. While the nomenclature has evolved (from Review Committee to Preprints Committee and then Peer Review Committee), the aim of the reviewing body has remained constant: to provide an independent assessment of the contributions that can be weighed on an equal footing with that of the Working Groups. During the 1999–2002 triennium a sub-committee of the Directory Board was established to oversee this process; over time, the Editorial Board became the Editorial Committee and most recently, the Selection Committee. The role of this committee is to address discrepancies in grading between the Coordinators and Peer Reviewers and to achieve an equitable balance of papers among all the Working Groups that can be accommodated within the framework of the Triennial Conference.

Some facts about the Preprints:

  • From 1967–1972 (Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid) papers were mimeographed, collated and manually passed out to delegates.
  • From 1975 to 1981 (Venice, Zagreb, Ottawa) the Preprints were distributed in three-ring binders.
  • In 1984 (Copenhagen) the Preprints were printed in bound books for the first time.
  • Until 1990 (Dresden) the Preprints were published from camera-ready copy provided directly by the authors, with text and images already laid out; 10 sets of offprints were supplied to each main author.
  • In 1993 (Washington, DC), production became computer based; copy editing of papers and the introduction of a standardized layout and font became possible.
  • Poster abstracts were also published for the first time in 1993.
  • In 1999 (Lyon), as an initial trial, contributions from two Working Groups were made available online to delegates prior to the Triennial Meeting; since then, papers from all Working Groups have been posted in advance of the conference.
  • From 2002 (Rio de Janeiro) the Preprints were published on CD-ROM as well as in hard copy.
  • In 2011 (Lisbon) the Preprints were produced on CD-ROM only with a hard-copy book of abstracts.
  • The first In 2014 (Melbourne) the Preprints were distributed on a USB flash drive for the first time.
  • To date (2017), 2674 papers have been published in the Preprints.

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